financial literacy women

My initial drive to join the 6 Week Online Money Make-Over was to smarten up about my super and shares and explore other forms of investing. An added bonus was the opportunity to connect with like-minded women who valued financial independence and confidence as much as I did. Over the couple of months that I was involved with the group I acted on a lot of tasks around my super and shares that historically I’d shown some procrastination towards. I learnt a lot from the women in my group. Oh,  and red wine also became a central theme of our sessions!

But there were also some unexpected outcomes from my time in the group.

In the first session I wrote down my one to two year goal and nervously read it out to the group. I’ve had a long held ambition to start doing my own consulting work, focusing on improving the quality of adult literacy and numeracy training, particularly for remote Aboriginal communities. To be honest, when I read it out I’d described the goal with such perfect clarity and detail I was embarrassed by it.

After the first hangout I pinned the planning sheet on my wardrobe door to remind myself of it, as I’d get ready for work. I started to make tentative steps towards it; they were small but important practical gestures. They included

  • Getting an ABN
  • Speaking to trusted and skilled people
  • Getting tax advice
  • Putting money aside for software programs
  • And lots of reading and research.


During this stage of my planning I reminded myself of Tim Minchin’s advice to be ‘micro-ambitious’. By detailing all the small action steps I needed to get done, I committed myself to completing these tasks and was not overwhelmed by the larger goal. The weekly GIG sessions with the terrific group of women I did it with also kept me accountable.

A month after putting this goal down on paper I was asked if I’d work on a project with an Indigenous organisation across remote cattle stations in Northern Australia. It couldn’t be better suited for me: I had the technical skills for it and the childhood experience of growing up on a cattle station. Since then, I’ve been approached on another literacy project in the Northern Territory. This has all happened in a few months since that uncomfortable moment of the program, reading out and making real what I wanted to do.

Zoe and the 10thousandgirl team have been the enablers and have prompted me to go after what I really love to do. They also linked me with other smart and strong women to learn from. In the occasional moments of self doubt I look at the “Why?” part of my goal planning sheet to remind myself of why what I’m doing is so important.

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financial goal setting

We all know the benefits of goal setting – focus, clarity and hopefully, success.

Yet the real benefits of setting financial goals go well beyond the increased chance of achieving them.

Benefit #1:  Helps to Review Your Here and Now.

The first thing that financial goal setting does is allow us to review where we are now.

Many of us feel uncomfortable, apathetic or not in control of our financial affairs. When this happens we tend to avoid opening the bank statements or reading the pay slip. When we set a financial goal around debt repayment or saving for a particular item, it gives us an added incentive to get to grips with what we earn, what we spend, what we have and what we owe. This process also tends to highlight to us what we don’t know and give us the opportunity to fill in some gaps. When it comes to finances information is power.

Benefit #2: Focusing on your Priorities

The second benefit is about focusing on our priorities. Few of us have simple wants and desires. Chances are you want to work less, earn more, have more, owe less, be carefree spending more today and have peace of mind that you’ll have everything you need tomorrow.

The act of goal setting gives us the opportunity to be realistic about we can achieve and to prioritise those wants and needs.

When you are feeling overwhelmed one of the most powerful things you can do is take a paper and pencil and write down everything you want. You write and write and write until there is no room left, until you can’t squeeze anything more from your head and onto the paper. By seeing these things written down, you have a visual representation of the hidden expectations you carry around. You can then acknowledge that it’s not realistic to have them all, or to have them all now. What you can do is pick one or two of the most important wants and work towards those. Focusing on a couple of goals instead of a lengthy list will make you more likely to achieve them and reduce the chance of getting discouraged and giving up.

Benefit #3: Managing Regret

The third benefit of goals is about managing regret. When you pursue one goal, chances are you are giving up (or delaying) the opportunity to achieve another. You’ve decided to focus on getting out of debt and that has meant you’ve said no to the weekend away with your girlfriends. Or you’ve decided to further your career prospect through further training, but that’s delayed your ability to save for your deposit. We will always get moments of regret and longing for things we wish we had done or not done. But knowing that your choices are furthering your chosen financial goals will help you deal with the downside.

Benefit #4: Learn New Skills

The fourth benefit are the invaluable skills, knowledge and habits you gain, that will percolate throughout other aspects of your life. The experience of negotiating with your bank to consolidate your credit card debt might come in handy when having to raise difficult conversations at work. Getting your superannuation sorted by understanding fees and investment options may help you be more confident and informed when going to apply for a home loan.

The act of budgeting and managing your spending may make you more mindful of social justice issues as well as the environment impacts of consumption.

The final word goes to Henry David Thoreau, an American author and philosopher of the 1800s who shared with us this wisdom:

‘What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.’

About Rhiannon Robinson:

Rhiannon Robinson

Rhiannon is one of 10thousandgirl’s Trusted Advisors.  You can find out more about her, here.

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Financial literacy events for women

There is one small activity I do on a regular basis that makes a huge difference to my self-belief. It is the act of noting down, in one place, all the tasks I have accomplished during the previous week – both on a personal and professional level. A Week In Review!

For so many of us the weeks fly by and when someone asks us what we’ve been up to we draw a blank…Can you relate? Sometimes you may even beat yourself up because you feel that you’ve not achieved much during the last seven days.

This simple activity will only take you about 10 minutes a week and is one that makes such an impact. It helps:

  • build momentum;
  • gives you a moment to reflect on the week;
  • helps you remember what you have actually done;
  • see if you’ve done the tasks that bring you closer to your goals and aims;
  • gives you a boost to do more in the upcoming week;
  • reminds you that you do have the capabilities to do what you need to (self-belief and self-confidence);
  • and inspires increased productivity.

How To Do Your Week In Review

  1. Put aside 10 minutes at a regular time during the week. I prefer to do it on Friday afternoons.
  2. Have your to do list and diary on hand. It helps if you use some sort of scheduler to remind you of some of the bigger things you did this week.
  3. Choose a place to write up your list. I write mine on my blog. You may just want to keep a document on your computer. Write it down though! It doesn’t have as much impact if you just keep in in your head.
  4. Write down your dot points. Keep it short and sweet – it is easier to maintain. You may have things that are quite big or things that are quite small. For example:
  • Caught up with the girls
  • Cleaned the house
  • Completed website copy draft
  • Went to the gym x3
  • Cooked 4x healthy dinners
  • Read a book
  • Spoke to boss about raise
  • Counselled colleague
  • Sold couch on ebay
  • Volunteered at school
  • Browsed bookshop

5. Read over it one more time. Pat yourself on the back and see what the process has done for yo

Go on, give it a go and make it part of your routine.

Arienne is the content manager for 10thousandgirl and head she at Savvy Sassy She where she muses about life and wants to help everyone wake up to the lives they love and start living it now. A lover of lists , she is one of those people that does something that wasn’t on the daily to do then goes and writes it on just so she can cross it off.

Photo Credit

Name: Chloe Chapman
Attended: Sydney Life Planning Workshop, May 2011

I wanted to become a 10thousandgirl because…
1. I was in need of some support/guidance with my finances (to encourage me to begin a budget and ultimately a saving plan!
2. I had 10thousand ideas flying around in my mind in relation to a new project / potential business, so needed a kick start in developing some achievable goals/ plans to move my ideas forward  into ‘reality’

My greatest achievements so far are…
Since the course I have set up a budget for myself and my partner (have cut back massively on our spending once we broke it down and realised how ridiculous some of our spending habits were) We now have a savings account set up, with a fair amount already saved and regular deposits being made.  We are aiming to reach a certain figure within approx a year’s time, for a deposit for a house.

I have attended two different furniture restoration/refurbishment courses and have a clearer idea of the direction I want to take with my “dream furniture business” We have purchased several pieces of furniture to renovate and have had two successful sales! Not a bad start.

My greatest achievements since I joined 10thousandgirl…
My greatest achievement, aside from the above, has been my positive change in my frame of mind and having the confidence to start the ball rolling and making things happen!

My day job (which is NOT my dream career) has become literally that, a “day job” and I have been able to continue on working towards everything that will hopefully bring me long term happiness and fulfil my dreams.

My attitude towards my current job has changed dramatically.  I work hard, but do not bring my work home with me, which has allowed me to clear my mind and focus on moving forward with the furniture.

My personal goals for the next 12 months are…
Obtain my permanent residency in Australia
Attend two further courses (1 in upholstery and 1 other in either starting up a business or another furniture related course)
We’ve sold a total a further 12 pieces of furniture, (averaging sales of $150 and $250)
Become “planning manager” in order to help achieve my financial/saving goal
Register the business! 
To increase my level of fitness, general health and wellbeing.  Be 55kgs, slim and bouncing with energy (with flawless skin!)

My financial goals for the next 12 months are…
I am debt free by my birthday Jan 2012
To have at least $15,000 saved (enough for half a deposit for a home)

In 3-5 years I’ll…
Own a property (location yet to be decided- 2 would be better!)
Have at least one child (2 would also be better)!
Have the furniture business set up and running (with potentially a small shop, offering a service to “funk up furniture”)
Be fit, healthy with a fantastic work-life balance

And financially, in 3-5 years I’ll be…
The only debt I will have will be a mortgage
Earning enough from the business (possibly part time work) coupled with my partner’s income to support a family (comfortably) ?  Not sure on an exact figure?!!
Savings to allow yearly holidays for the family

The very first steps I’m going to take right now are…
–    Book 1st course this weekend
–    Read up on all info for permanent residency (which a friend has just passed over to me and get things started) I am going on holiday in 2 weeks, so want to have the initial application started before I leave
–    Myself and partner are calling a “business meeting” this weekend to discuss the plans going forwards, ie. A set of goals to aim to complete x no. Of pieces of furniture by a certain date and also to discuss what action/research needs to be done in order to start up a small business.

This is where you can find more about me
Check out Seller “cherry-life” for latest funked up masterpieces
The first 2….

My extra bit
Would highly recommend this workshop  to ANYONE that just needs a kick start with anything.  I can honestly say that without thinking too much about it, I can slowly see everything that I set out as personal/financial goals beginning to happen and dreams slowly becoming true.  Once you have ironed everything out on paper and visually the rest is easy. Thank you 10thousandgirls ten thousand times over for helping me believe in myself. 

Dreams are wonderful things to have. They push us out of what exists right now to a place where anything is possible.  Dreams give us hope, motivation and inspire us to move forward.

Daydreams by themselves are lovely and wonderful but they can be just that, daydreams – figments of our imagination that often become nothing more than fleeting fancies. There is no clear action or momentum behind them to turn them into a reality.

On the other hand ‘Daredreams’, a term coined by 10thousandgirl muskateer Jo Balfour, are dreams turned into goals via action. These are visions that individuals are creating that will transpire at some chosen point in the future. Being a Daredreamer means dreaming big, crafting ‘INSPIRE’ goals, creating action plans and carrying them out step by step.

‘INSPIRE’ goals are those that are:

I.nteresting Do they inspire me? Take my interest?

N.ew Are they new? Something I haven’t done before?

S.pecific Do they specify when to start/stop/celebrate?

P.roductive Will they get me somewhere?

I. can do it On a scale of 1-10, can I do it?

R.ewarding Will others benefit?

E.xpansive Will they challenge me? Take me to a new place?

At our recent International Women’s Day event, 10thousandgirl announced that 2011 is your year, the Year of the Daredreamer. It’s your year to dare to dream the life you really want to live; and make it happen.

Daredreamer postcards were handed out to the attendees to fill in their personal Daredream. 10thousandgirl then collected them to send back via that almost forgotten medium, the postal service.

Some wonderful responses received from the line:

2011 was the year my most daring dreams came to life.  As I look back, some of the highlights were…” included:

“I stopped living paycheck to paycheck and have $5000 saved.”

“I got married! Together with my new husband we bought our second property.”

“This year I have taken control of my personal finances and was proactive in charting strategic career goals for myself over the next 3 years.”

“Earning $500/month in first 6 months of starting my own business.”

“I set my goal to holiday in NYC for a white christmas by Dec 2012 with my new adorable partner.”

“I bought my first property and built a strong friendship group whilst maintaining health and fitness.”

”I reached my goal to have helped 200 people transform their lives by Dec 2011.”

So Daredreamer extraordinaire…what are you Daredreaming for your 2011?

In the last entry to this blog, I finished wondering how it was that I will be remembered in the world. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about this – not in a ‘I’m going to be famous’ kind of a way, but in a ‘what am I going to be when I grow up’ kind of a way.
In this thinking, I also spend a lot of time writing. On scraps of paper, in diaries, making lists, writing on the computer. Much of my writing has a theme – what I am going to do, how I am going to do it, how I am going to be ‘the best I can be’.

As obvious as it may seem to others, it hit me just recently, that I am not just going to ‘be’, but I already ‘am’. Until now I have had some sense of ‘when I get a house’, or ‘when I start to write’, or ‘when I have a family’, that is when my life will start. That is what I am planning and waiting for, and that’s when the fun of ‘being grown up’ will begin. It occurred to me though, in the revelation, that my life has not only already begun, but it has been going for thirty years now! I feel like I have been preparing for something that is ‘somewhere, in the future’, whereas it is all really all happening right now.

My personal life, my career, my ambitions, are all being produced as we speak, either through action or inaction. My plan to buy my own little piece of land is in train, even though I am not spending my Saturdays trawling through house inspections, but I am reading and researching and saving. My ambitions as a writer need more action, and more access to readership, rather than to be furtive little secrets that only I can read!

My future from yesterday is happening right now. How I will be remembered is happening right now. There’s the opportunity for ‘someday’, for ‘future’, for ‘plans’, but there’s also the opportunity for ‘now’.

As all this insight was falling on my like a tonne of bricks, so too did an opportunity: to attend the 10thousandgirl planning workshop. It was like finding ten bucks in your jacket pocket, when you thought you only had ten cents – all the possibilities open up!

There’s little point in berating myself for the lost time, waiting for a new start, something better, or for the right time to make a resolution. Every action from yesterday is already having its consequences: what are the consequences of today’s actions going to be?

For me, I have decided the workshop is the perfect opportunity to think not only about the ‘future’, but also the present. What am I, can I, could I be doing right now? How am I going to educate myself, to make the most out of now, and ensure that I don’t look back, and be sorry?

I’m really looking forward to the workshop, to meeting other people who want to do the same thing I do – to be the best we can be, and get started straight away!

Rowena Southgate (aka ‘Ms Alchemy’) is based in Melbourne. While she would love to write as an occupation, she still needs to earn a living. This living so far has seen her work in research related to employment, in policy related to disability services, in HIV prevention in Vietnam, and also in the sexy world of communicable diseases. An acute observer and amateur photographer, Rowena likes to think twice about she sees in the world around her, and what it would take to make it a little bit different – for the better.

By Arienne Gorlach

Time is like currency. What matters is how you spend it. Have you ever sat down and considered how you spend and budget this commodity? I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of complaining that we don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish what really counts.

The interesting thing is that we all have the same amount. 168 hours per week to be precise. Are you conscious of where you invest your time and who or what is profiting from it? Where you invest your time shows you (and others) what is important to you in each moment. Keep a time log for a week. Account for every 15 minute increment and see where it really goes. Your activity may surprise you.

Are you spending time surfing the net without a purpose in mind? Are you sitting on a bus for 30 minutes a day staring out the window? Are you watching an episode of your favourite old school soapie? These are all perfect if your purpose is to relax and let your mind go, but if you are doing these unconsciously then wondering why you haven’t got enough time in your day to work towards the things that are most important to you, or things aren’t moving in your life for you, then congratulations! You’ve just discovered some bonus hours in your day to invest wisely.

Sure, there are some things that take up hours in our day because they are necessary to make our lives work. We need to eat, clean, sleep etc. but there are other hours where you can choose how to invest them. And indeed we can also choose in what mood we eat, who we eat with and for how long and with how much love we choose to prepare, cook and share each meal.

So we always have a choice. Each moment counts, just like each cent counts. We can use some for fun, we can use some to rest, we can use some to work,and we can use some to invest in our future.

Are you reading books, listening to podcasts, meeting new people, asking new questions or attending workshops or courses? Are you spending some time now to make things easier and better for later? Are you playing with your camera to see how it can be used best, are you investing time in quality friendships, reading that book on finance, or attending that leadership workshop?

Each of us has goals, dreams and plans for the future. If we don’t schedule in time to actually work on them, a month, a year or a decade can go by without us taking a step in their direction. Schedule some regular time in to your routine to work on what is important to you and what will benefit your future.

And fancy that, just before we were about to release this article, an email from someone thinking just the same thing popped into my mail! Brook Noel sums it up well. “we still manage to fritter time away versus managing it as the asset it is. This isn’t to say that we should be working around the clock or goal-chasing every hour of every day, but we should make sure we are spending our time in alignment with our personal priorities. When we spend out time more wisely, we release ourselves from the “never enough time” trap. “

So if creativity is important to you, how are you spending your time so you can work it into your everyday?

If being secure financially is important to you, how are you spending your time so you can learn more about it?

If nutrition is important to you, how are you spending your time to ensure you’re putting the right things into your body?

If becoming better at your job is important to you, how are you spending your time to upgrade your skills?

If changing jobs is important to you, how are you spending your time to research new opportunities and acquire new skills?

If community is important to you, how are you spending your time building these relationships around you?

If giving back is important to you, how are you spending your time so you can focus on others’ needs?

There are lots of ways to budget our moments wisely and to invest our time mindfully. Where are you spending yours?

If you want to delve into this a little further topic, there is a blog and a book called 168 hours: You have more time than you think at http://www.my168hours.com/. Once you have looked at your completed time log, see where your time is being spent. Then take action to change that if you don’t like what you discovered. Look at your goal action plans and see how you can fit a couple of things off those lists into your week. A useful tool that can help you focus your time and perhaps make it more productive is the Focus booster (www.focusboosterapp.com) based on the pomodoro technique (www.pomodorotechnique.com)

With the New Year comes the setting of resolutions and promises of new beginnings. While everyone has great intentions of keeping these, how many of you have already started to slide on these? There is a general phrase that it takes 21 days to form a good habit (or break a bad one). Now that we are in February, you should be able to assess how well you are achieving these goals.

Have you kept up your healthy eating plans and exercise? Have you dedicated more time for yourself? Have you started to get your finances in order?

Everyone has different goals in regards to finance and what is important to them. Regardless of what your goals are, the crucial fact is that in order to achieve your individual wealth goals, you need to set strategies that allow you to achieve these. The first step is to write these down. Success psychologists say that 95% – 97% of the people in the world do NOT have written goals and fail, while 3-5% have written goals and succeed.

Once you have written these goals down, you will need to assess that you have set SMART goals: that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. Like a weight loss goal of losing weight, setting a goal of saving money is too vague. To be successful you need to state specific figures, for example whether you are going to save $500 of your pay each fortnight towards saving, whether it be for investing in shares, to top up your emergency funds or purchasing your own home or an investment property.

Measurable: Establish strong criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you have set. Setting a specific dollar figure to your goal will determine whether it is measurable and immediately show whether you are on track to achieving that goal or whether you are not. For example saving $500 per fortnight will equate to you saving $13,000 over the course of a year. By looking at your savings account, you will immediately be able to see whether you have reached this figure.

Attainable: When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. Having the right mindset will allow you to see that nothing is impossible. If you put your mind to it, you will be amazed at what you can achieve.

Realistic: To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. For example, saving half your pay may not be realistic or achievable. You would be better to start your savings at ¼ or 1/3 of your pay and then top up your savings with any additional surplus funds. The use of budget spreadsheets on FIDO http://www.asic.gov.au/fido/fido.nsf/byHeadline/Budget%20planner or the guidance of a financial planner will help you to recognize what financial goals are realistic to your situation by taking into account your current income, expenditure and calculating any surplus you have that can be directed towards savings.

Timely: A goal should be set within a specified time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. Having a date as to which you wish to achieve your goal will help keep you focused and remain motivated to achieving your goal. Not all goals can be achieved within the next 12 months and it’s easy to lose motivation and focus. The purchase of a big long-term investment like a property may take 2-3 years of savings. This requires planning and dedication to achieve your goal. The use of a financial planner will help you stay focused and assist you with any unexpected road blocks which you may face along the way and keep you on the straight and narrow.

Once you have visualised and set these goals, you must be accountable for these. Like an exercise buddy who motivates you on those cold mornings, a financial planner can encourage you to stay on track with your savings and develop a plan for your long term wealth. Whether that is saving for a holiday, paying off those pesky credit cards (which probably increased with the Christmas sales) or saving for an investment property or shares, a Financial Planner can help develop a strategy that is right for you.

Omniwealth is hosting a seminar on 22nd March 2011 with a range of professional speakers to educate, inspire and motivate women to take action and build wealth. Come along and find out:
•    How to secure your future with a tailored financial plan
•    Must Knows for successful wealth creation
•    The three keys to a winning result
•    How winning needs a well executed plan

One of our speakers is Kerri Pottharst, Olympic Beach Volleyball Gold Medalist of the Sydney Olympics. Kerri will teach you the secrets to goal-setting success, how to develop invaluable communication strategies and learn new skills that will allow you to achieve your full potential. Be inspired by her stories of setback, injury and defeat. Learn how she overcame them all to compete in 3 Olympic Games and win 2 Olympic Medals by setting goals. Discover how she turned her Bronze into Gold!

Our seminar is designed for women who want financial information that’s presented simply. The seminar will demonstrate how you can set goals, learn about investment options and provide you with information to make your own decisions about investing your money today to maximise your lifestyle tomorrow.

Make sure 2011 is the year that you achieve your goals and stick to your New Years Resolutions!

Further information can be found on our website:

Sunshine is passionate about helping people create freedom through real wealth creation. She is a practicing Financial Planner with over 10 years of experience and is currently a Partner and the Managing Director of Omniwealth, one of Australia’s leading independent financial services companies. Sunshine, a pro-active investor herself, started out with her first investment property at the age of 23 and subsequently accumulated 10 properties by age 30. Her first book will be released in the second half of 2011 entitled ‘Buy Property Not Shoes – A Girls Guide to Financial Independence’. Sunshine is a keen supporter of women creating financial independence and with her energy and enthusiasm, brings a fresh new perspective  to creating a professional and effective Financial Planning Industry in Australia.

Several people suggested I write about my experiences of working towards what I wanted – both to share my story with others and to take the opportunity to reflect and actually appreciate what has brought me here.

So often, we are working towards things, whether they be personal projects or work goals, that when we achieve them, we might do a quick ‘yay’, and then continue with the next to-do. We regularly don’t put it in perspective and take the time to appreciate and recognise the time, effort and occasional sacrifices we made to get there.

I was having a bad day and my great friend Chloe sat me down and actually made me recognise what I had achieved. Her belief in me made me look at why she felt that way and why I didn’t. She told me about what I had said to her when I first met her (basically that I had left my marketing job, was currently working in admin, but what I really wanted to do was work with young women), and then what she had seen me do over the last two years and to see where I was now and what I was doing. They were linked and there was action I had taken to bring me here. Taking the time made me reconsider and appreciate my position and actually see what I had done and the positive consequences that had resulted. I had to congratulate myself. More on this later.

4 years ago, people probably looked at me as having a great life, with almost everything I could ask for, at least on the surface – a partner, a job, a car, friends, loving family, enough money to get by without too many worries. But something was seriously wrong…

I did well at school, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I thought that a business degree with a marketing major would be able to give me a bit of a balance between creativity and a guided direction. It was okay…I really did learn a lot that was practical for the real world. Marketing is really just creative logic. Though, in hindsight, I think I would have preferred interior design!

I worked pretty much full time at my mother’s business while studying full time as well. I went on to become the marketing manager at mum’s growing business when I graduated as it was the natural next step. Unfortunately, the pressure of being looked at as being there only because of nepotism, and not actually because I knew the product and the business inside out and had a degree, was there, though whether it was my own projections or people’s actual feelings I’m not sure (another hindsight insight was that I was really pretty good at it!).

I was living a life that people thought I should live – not in a bad way – but I had many opportunities that would come up, especially with work and they would say ‘wow, you are so lucky to be in that position, take it and do it, it’s so amazing’ and I’d plaster a smile on my face and go ‘yes, it is isn’t it, I should do it’ so I did. I guess I was just sitting back and letting things happens rather than being part of the design of my future and consciously seeing what I wanted and going for it.

What I didn’t realise at the time was that the strange feelings inside of me were warning signs that I wasn’t living authentically with who I was. I was living what other people thought was good for me.

The wake up call happened out of the blue, actually while I was on an amazing trip with my sister and Dad. I got hit with crippling anxiety.

To cut a very long story short (and I’m trying to work on brevity actually becoming a strong point) it lasted a really, really, really long time. It was not okay with me and I worked really hard to reinvent myself because I had to. I did a myriad of healings and therapies, I’m not really sure what worked, but I’ve realised that it has so much to do with the mind and what and how you think. I’m still on the journey out, but I’m 95% better than I was and I believe I’m almost there!

I decided to explore a lot about myself and really did a lot of self-analysis and excavation. I made a lot of changes during that time. My relationship with my partner came to an end, I moved homes, I took up journal writing, I started dating, I partied a lot, I blossomed socially and made some great new friends. I was going on new adventures as I was healing and looking for a new path.

During that time I realised what my main passion was and still is – working with young women just like me who are looking at improving their lives – inspired females, resourced women, girls who enjoy some of the nice things in life but also want to give back. I didn’t know how or what to do, but I knew I wanted to work in that direction.

I decided to leave the marketing role at Mum’s work and take on something that could give me more time to work out what I really wanted to do. Something that I consciously decided to do, rather than just fell into. So, I decided that I could probably go in to an administrative role where I could work 9-5 and not take home any responsibility. I temped for a little while and ended up being offered a Senior Administrative role in a university which I accepted. Little did they know this senior admin person had no idea how to fix a printer or use the laminator. I am proud to say I am now and expert in both. I received less income, but it was worth it because it gave me the opportunity to do so much more that was priceless – time to spend on myself.

I planned to stay a year while I decided if I wanted to join an organisation or start my own business to do with working with young women. I did a lot of planning and dreaming, trialling and experimenting, reading and researching in my spare time. The job was a good gap filler and I created some amazing relationships, and learned both good and bad things about myself, but I also learned that my personality type took this role seriously and it wasn’t 9-5 for me. I was getting stressed about situations, working long hours and it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Something had to change again.

In late 2009, I connected with Anneli Knight and then Zoe Lamont through a friend. I got an email and asked a small but significant (to me) question to Anneli and through a series of events, it led me here. If I didn’t have the guts to ask the question (it was basically if she was interested in working together on a business idea I had), what would have happened? Sometimes you just need to reach out. One of my favourite lines is from a Coldplay song – ‘if you never try, you’ll never know’.

What Zoe, Anneli and I were discussing was so aligned. They were just starting 10thousandgirl out of Zoe’s initial project High Heels and a WIG. We were trying to find a way I could become involved and I ended up volunteering to be their Steering Committee Chair.

I loved the girls I was coming in contact with. To be honest, it was hard pouring so much energy into it while working full time at the University (and starting a new relationship, having a social life, working on a few more personal goals and spending time on what I had finally learned the hard way was important – myself), but I knew 10thousandgirl, the people involved and the concept was really resonating in me so it was worth it.

10 months later, Zoe offered me a role at 10thousandgirl and I jumped at the chance. The chance to become involved in this amazing community of like minds. The chance to be involved in working with young women who wanted to learn more. The chance to help be part of a ripple effect and empower individuals and communities. The plan to stay one year at the university turned into 18 months, a little longer than I originally planned, but that was ultimately fine.

This is nowhere near the end of the journey, I still have dreams and aspirations that I am working on and figuring out. But with the discovery of a passion and from a vague idea of what I wanted to do, with some proactive actions and jumping on opportunities that presented themselves, I’m Manager Girl at the 10thousandgirl Campaign, working with inspired young women. This is a massive milestone in my journey.

The way I’ve done things is probably not the ideal way. But it’s the way I had to do it. We are all individuals with different contexts surrounding us. These are my lessons learned. If this gives you an idea of one person’s experience – good. If it inspires you – great. If it’s just a story of a girl – fine.  If it does nothing – no problem! These realisations probably aren’t the right ones for everyone – take what you want and leave the rest.

Lessons learned:

  • Do what you have to for yourself first. Live your own life. It doesn’t have to be selfish. After all you are the one that you answer to in those quiet moments. Make yourself happy with your decisions, that way you make the others around you happier in the long term.
  • Listen to the feelings you have. They are often signs that you are either on the right path or not.
  • Have at least an idea of the direction you wanted to go in. If you have a really clear outcome, write down all the details, you’ll probably get there quicker.
  • Ask the question. Send that email. Make that phone call. Even if it puts you out of your comfort zone. That action could lead you to a path that is so rewarding.
  • Take the time to appreciate what you have done to get you to where you are. Really reflect, give thanks and contemplate it so you can recognise and acknowledge that your actions brought you there. You weren’t just sitting back and waiting for things to happen like I was initially.
  • Have plans beyond the big ones in your short and medium term sights, because when you get there it will be amazing, but you still want to have a bigger purpose in life.
  • Listen to your friends. They often have better insights into our lives than we do.

Happy journeying!


With the silly season well into swing what are some things you can start doing to start the 2011 without a financial hangover.

The first phase should be around what you want to achieve in 2011.  As silly as it sounds write it down!  What are Your Goals for Life in 2011.  Get your list of things you want to achieve, both the big and the small.  Make sure if there are big things that you can break them down into achievable actions.

Your Cash Matters.  If you are in business or an employee cash flow is the key!  Take the time to review your 2011 cash flow plan and make cash flow your key priority for 2011.  If you have not planned as well this year, set up a Christmas club savings account to get cash on the ready for Christmas 2011 – we know when it is going to fall, the 25th of December 2011 will be a Sunday! 

Once your cash flow is in order the next phase is to look at your ability to create wealth and or put more money into superannuation each have benefits and limitations depending on your stage in life.

Use of strategies such as dollar cost averaging to take advantage of movements in the market can cause a better outcome.  If your cash flow will allow it and you want to manage your tax position you could also look to use someone else’s money to invest (welcome to the world of gearing strategies). See table above

The final phase is to look at Your Back Up Plan.  What do you have in place as a protection strategy if things don’t turn out how you planned?  Check out the insurances you have and work out what you do and don’t need.  Insurance through superannuation can be a more cost effective way to access protection.  You can also check out your private health insurance options online at www.privateheath.gov.au.

Aunty Scotty AKA Scott Malcolm (scott@money-mechanics.com.au) is Director of Money Mechanics, a fee for service advice firm who are authorised to provide financial advice through PATRON Financial Advice AFSL 307379.

Aunty Scotty AKA Scott Malcolm (scott@money-mechanics.com.au) is Director of Money Mechanics, a fee for service advice firm Scott Malcolmwho are authorised to provide financial advice through PATRON Financial Advice AFSL 307379.

Some of us are very clear on what they want in life.  While others of us can be a little more carefree in nature and have only sort of an idea of where they are heading.  Then there are those who the thought of planning is not even on their radar.

No matter where you are at, my money challenge for you this month is to take a moment to think about what ‘wealth’ or ‘financial independence’ means to you and create your definition.

For me being wealthy means: ________________________________________________

For me Financial Independence means: _________________________________________

Wealth, financial independence and there meaning can be a very personal point of view and perception.  What does wealth really mean to you?

Do you believe you are wealthy because you no longer worry about money because you are able to pay your bills on time?  Or is it more about having enough money to choose whether or not you work?  Or would you only consider being wealthy if you live in a very expensive house and travel regularly?  Do you not believe in the concept of wealth at all or is wealth to you more about lifestyle and less about money?

We can sometimes take elements of our wealthy lifestyles for granted.  I feel wealthy because I have love, happiness, shelter, safety, food and education in my life as well as an income and ability to help and empower others.

Setting your goals and working out what it means for you and your partner is a major part of the financial planning process.  Setting SMART or SMART-ER goals can be a challenge in itself as is taking the action to make them happen.

Specific – You know exactly what the goal is with as many details as possible.
Measurable – You are able to measure how far you have progressed towards the final goal.
Achievable – The goal takes account of your particular situation at the time.
Realistic – The goal reflects your skills, resources and ability to achieve a specific outcome.
Timeframe – There is a definite time frame against which progress towards the goal can be tracked.
Extra Realistic – The what, where, when and how of your goal in a high level of detail so much so you can almost touch it!

A financial planner can assist with helping you to document your plans and get you on track to achieving your financial goals as an individual or a couple.   We can also offer a reality check to see if the numbers stack up and your goals are achievable in the timeframe that you are planning.

A result of this of this could be getting investment advice which can open up a whole new world of jargon and new experiences for you such as buying an investment product.

A good adviser will take you on this journey with them rather then talking at you about the products and strategies they will implement for you.  My advice is that this process should be a partnership and you should be educated and informed throughout it all.

As education and information can ad a further depth of wealth to your life.

Check out the Government resources at FIDO.gov.au about getting advice and start your journey today to create wealth through understanding.

The information provided on this article is of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on this information you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs

Scott MalcolmAunty Scotty AKA Scott Malcolm (scott@money-mechanics.com.au) is Director of Money Mechanics, a fee for service advice firm who are authorised to provide financial advice through PATRON Financial Advice AFSL 307379.

This week I caught up with Zoe Lamont, one of the brains and inspiring energy forces behind the 10thousandgirl campaign.  We were having a coffee and chatting, among other things, about goal setting and the complexity and challenge that can occur with putting a dollar amount around your goals.

We both agreed that going through this process can either be a supporting influence or could cause you to realise that your goals may not be as realistic as you first thought!  For example, saving $100,000 for a house deposit might be a little unrealistic in a two-year timeframe, depending on your income level, however extending this out to five years might be more achievable.

Once you have set your SMART goals or the goals that INSPIRE you, the next phase is doing some financial planning to work out how to achieve your goals and if your goals and timeframes are realistic.

Shorter-term calculations can be pretty easy.  For example if you wanted to save $5,000 in 12 months time, you can divide the $5,000 by 12 to work out what you need to set aside each month to achieve your goal.

Medium and longer terms goals might be a little harder as rates or return and other elements come into play.

I have put together a couple of calculations you can use as tools to see how much you need to set aside and what the effect of different rates of return can have on the outcomes.

Some points to note are that this is not an exact science.  It can be a helpful way to cross check that your goals are on track and achievable and also a great negotiation tool if you need to review the timeframes on your goals.

If your goal isn’t achievable in your initial timeframe, don’t loose hope.  Instead be inspired that you now have a more realistic timeframe on your goals and more clarity on what is required to achieve your outcome.

Tool 1: The Rule of 72

This is a financial rule of thumb that is used to estimate the number of years an amount will take to double assuming a specific rate of return.  This formula dates back to an early Mathematician Luca Pacioli (1445–1514).  Roughly translated from Wikipedia: “In wanting to know for any percentage, in how many years the capital will be doubled, you bring to mind the rule of 72, which you always divide by the interest, and the result is in how many years it will be doubled.”

For Example: When the interest is 6% per year, dividing 72 by 6 gives you 12.  This means at a 6% rate of return, the capital will double every 12 years.  So if you had $1,000 in a cash account earning 6%, without adding any further capital it would take 12 years for this to become $2,000.

A summary of different returns is here.

Here is an exercise for you to work with some of your own goals or plans for life.

Determine your goal and when you want it _____ number of years.
= $______________ lump sum required.

What rate of return do you need to achieve your goals? Is it realistic?

Your Starting Lump Sum $___________
Your Goal Lump Sum $__________
When do you want it? ____________ (A) # of years.
Number of times your money has to double? ___________  (B)
Number of years to double?  ________ (C) = (A/B
Expected Rate of Return ______________%  (72/C )

When you look at the rate of return you need on your capital does it feel realistic?  Does it seem too risky?  Do you feel comfortable with that rate of return?

The Rule of 72 is all about having a lump sum but what if you have a regular savings plan for each payday or each year?

Tool 2: Regular savings calculator

ASIC’s www.fido.gov.au has some great online savings calculators but if you wanted to play around with the figures yourself, the table below makes the calculation a little easier. It assumes some different rates of return, time frames and takes into account inflation (or the annual increase in the cost of living):

Years to Goal

Assumed Rate of Return (after inflation)








































































This table was adapted from Barbara Smith & Dr Ed Koken’s “Superannuation in a nutshell”.

Look at the first column to determine the number of years to your goal. Example: achieve financial freedom in 20 years.

Now look along that column to determine your expected rate of return, for 8% per annum the figure is 49.42.

Take your required capital amount and divide it by this number. $1,000,000 / 49.42 = $23,573.79 per annum. This is the annual investment amount you need to put aside to achieve the outcome at an 8% return. You can then turn it into a weekly, fortnightly or monthly amount as needed.

Try this for yourself with one of your goals; it could be buying a house in 5 years and needing a certain deposit, or saving enough money to set up your own business, or even the goal of financial freedom depending on your needs.

Your capital requirement = $_______________________ (A)
Estimate of years to reach your goal = ___________________ (B)
Estimated rate of return from your fund = ____________ (C)
Factor from table above = _________________________ (D)
Required amount to save each year = (A) / (D)= ________________

If you need assistance in exploring these further talk to a professional but most importantly, start your journey to creating wealth with understanding.

The information provided on this article is of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on this information you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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